November 26, 2012


It's a good thing smaller, authentic, independent breweries have adopted the term "craft brewery" over the antiquated "microbrewery." The way some of them operate is anything but indicative of how the little guys play ball. Trademark suits have become as common as the California Common.

I use the vaunted "Cal-Common" reference because, much like Anchor Brewing igniting the entire craft beer industry (first post-Prohibition all malt beer, first IPA, first barleywine, etc, etc.), it introduced the first craft beer trademark--Steam™--in 1981 before the 2,000-plus "new kids" had even germinated.

What started out simply enough as a way for two stellar brewers--Adam Avery from Avery Brewing in Colorado and Vinnie Cilurzo from Russian River in Northern California--to settle a caused by both breweries offering Belgian Strong Ales called "Salvation" turned into the blend of both beers and the resulting "Collaboration, Not Litigation." That was just the beginning.
Collaboration beers may just be the epitome of why the craft brewing industry is so awesome. Other competitive businesses revolve around games of one-upmanship—OUR product is 15% bigger, twice as refreshing, and 100% sexier—but today’s independent brewers are collectively deciding that what’s good for one is good for us all. The result? Many are now brewing in tandem. Others, undoubtedly, will join the fray.

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